Reviews for Courage Has No Color : The True Story of the Triple Nickels: America's First Black Paratroopers

Booklist Reviews 2013 February #1
*Starred Review* Starting with a riveting opening that puts readers into the shoes of a paratrooper on a training flight, this large-format book offers an informative introduction to the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion. Known as the Triple Nickles, they were America's first black paratrooper unit. Though WWII brought increased racial integration to the military, the pace was painfully slow. This book traces the paratroopers' story through their training and their long wait for orders to join the fighting overseas-orders that never came. Instead, the Triple Nickles were sent to fight fires in remote areas of western states. Decades passed before the men were officially honored for service to their country. Written with great immediacy, clarity, and authority, Stone's vivid narrative draws readers into the Triple Nickles' wartime experiences. Many well-chosen quotes enhance the text, while excellent black-and-white illustrations, mainly photos, document both the men of the 555th and the racial prejudice on the home front. Adding another personal perspective, artist and writer Ashley Bryan, an African American veteran of WWII, contributes the book's foreword, a drawing, and a painting from the period. This handsome volume documents the sometimes harrowing, often frustrating, and ultimately rewarding experiences of the Triple Nickles. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
The World War II era 555th Parachute Infantry Company, nicknamed the Triple Nickles, didn't actually fight anywhere, as white soldiers didn't want to fight alongside black soldiers. The book's focus is wide: there are sections on segregation and stereotypes, Japanese American internment camps, Japanese balloon bombs, the Battle of the Bulge, and Operation Firefly, brought to life with archival photographs and Stone's always clear prose. Timeline. Bib., ind.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #1
"How does one survive and outlast the racism that was our daily fare at that time?" asks artist Ashley Bryan in the foreword to this fine work about the treatment of black soldiers during World War II. With the spectacular success of the Air Force's Tuskegee Airmen, President Roosevelt ordered the formation of an all-black Army paratrooper unit, the 555th Parachute Infantry Company, nicknamed the Triple Nickles. But the Triple Nickles didn't actually fight anywhere, as white soldiers didn't want to fight alongside black soldiers. They weren't allowed into restaurants and movie theaters, their housing was substandard, and they weren't even given access to ammunition. Eventually, they put their training to use as smokejumpers in the forests of the western United States. Though they did help to pave the way for a more integrated military in later wars, their story in World War II was one of frustration. The book's focus is wide: there are excellent sections on segregation and stereotypes in American history, Japanese American internment camps, Japanese balloon bombs, the Battle of the Bulge, and Operation Firefly, brought to life with archival photographs and Stone's always clear prose. Readers may not find an exciting tale of wartime heroics here, but they will find a story of subtle forms of courage and unexpected ways soldiers can serve their country. Backmatter includes a timeline, chapter-by-chapter source notes, a bibliography, and an index. dean schneider

Kirkus Reviews 2012 November #2
The fascinating untold story of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, America's first black paratroopers. While white American soldiers battled Hitler's tyranny overseas, African-Americans who enlisted to fight for their country faced the tyranny of racial discrimination on the homefront. Segregated from white soldiers and relegated to service duties and menial tasks, enlisted black men faced what Ashley Bryan calls in the foreword "the racism that was our daily fare at the time." When 1st Sgt. Walter Morris, whose men served as guards at The Parachute School at Fort Benning, saw white soldiers training to be paratroopers, he knew his men would have to train and act like them to be treated like soldiers. Daring initiative and leadership led to the creation of the "Triple Nickles." Defying the deeply ingrained stereotypes of the time, the Triple Nickles proved themselves as capable and tough as any white soldiers, but they were never used in combat, serving instead as smoke jumpers extinguishing Japanese-ignited forest fires in the Pacific Northwest. Stone's richly layered narrative explores the cultural and institutional prejudices of the time as well as the history of African-Americans in the military. Her interviews with veterans of the unit provide groundbreaking insight. Among the archival illustrations in this handsomely designed book are drawings Bryan created while he served in World War II. An exceptionally well-researched, lovingly crafted and important tribute to unsung American heroes. (photographs, chronology, sources note, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 November #2

Stone (Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream) opens with an enticing question, "What is it like to jump out of an airplane?" The answer, which lets readers imagine doing just that as a paratrooper, will immediately draw them into this thorough story of the U.S. military's first black paratroopers. More than just an account of their endeavors during WWII, the narrative takes on a broader perspective as it contextualizes the story of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion. Set against the entrenched racism of the 1940s, the nine chapters include asides about media stereotypes regarding African-Americans and how photographs of black soldiers were often left out of the military record. Myriad quotations from personal interviews and more than 100 b&w photos reveal the heroism and perseverance of these groundbreaking men. While they didn't see combat (they were instead sent out West to become smoke jumpers), Stone's final chapters reveal how the Triple Nickles' service helped integrate both the military and society at large. A captivating look at a small but significant piece of military and civil rights history. Ages 10-up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Jan.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 January

Gr 5 Up--A moving, thoughtful history of the the United States military's first black paratrooper unit. During World War II, African American soldiers were mostly relegated to service and security jobs, generally denied the same training and active-combat positions that were available to their white counterparts. Expertly woven together are two narratives: the large, overarching history of rampant racism in the U.S. military and the smaller, tightly focused account of a group of black soldiers determined to serve their country and demonstrate their value as soldiers. Readers are taken along on the emotional journey with the soldiers as they leapt forward from guard duty at The Parachute School into official paratrooper training, the first of its kind for blacks. They faced multiple setbacks as they encountered discrimination, some justified as "policy" and some that was more personal and insidious. Throughout the book, the courage and strength of these men is evidenced in their tireless quest to be the best at what they do, throwing themselves headlong into sometimes dangerous and terrifying training requirements. The photographs and the design of the book as a whole are a gift to readers. Rich with detail, the pictures not only complement the narrative, but also tell a stirring story of their own, chronicling the triumphs and frustrations of the soldiers as they pursued their dreams. Complete accessibility to a wide range of readers, coupled with expert research and meticulous care, makes this a must-have for any library.--Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

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VOYA Reviews 2013 April
Board games often have amusing descriptions, such as appealing to "folks ages 8-88." The broad appeal of this title makes such a quip appropriate here, too. This will appeal to readers who like history, adventure, and the military. Stone presents the true story of African-Americans in the 1940s earning their right to fight. African-American regiments were the only places in which African-American officers could serve. Demoralized by menial jobs, soldiers segregated from fighting felt disconnected from the military. Adolph Hitler was racist and, ironically, it was racism at home that kept African Americans from seeing combat against him Stone's historical account of the 555th Platoon, or Triple Nickels, is well researched and the amount of information presented is nearly overwhelming. Her strength as an author is that she makes rereading the text a joy. Courage Has No Color is enhanced by photographs and artwork on nearly every page. Primary source accounts from the 555th Paratrooper unit, as well as from military and political leaders, broaden the reader's understanding of how America allowed hatred to overshadow hope, even in the face of evil like Adolph Hitler. The history of the Triple Nickels is supported by an appendix which features a time line of desegregation of the regiment, sources, and photography credits.--Laura Perenic Photos. Timeline. Appendix. Sources. 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.